A few months ago we talked to KJ Dell'Antonia.
KJ’s a mom of 4 and a former New York Times reporter. She’s an excellent write; she’s wise and interesting.
And her recent book, How to be a Happier Parent, is a great read.
KJ lives on a farm, there is a LOT of work to do around the barn. Plus her kids play sports and–because she lives in a rural area–she has to drive them a bunch.
So, they are busy.
Because of their busy lifestyle, I was really excited when we got to talk to KJ about kids doing chores.
Here's a short video of our conversation with KJ and what she had to say about chores.
Here are my 3 takeaways about chores from KJ:
Kids doing chores makes their life easier (not just mine!)
When I think about my kids doing chores I’m usually focused on making my life easier or teaching them a life skill. But that’s only part of the story. Doing chores also helps kids feel like they are part of the family unit, not just along for the ride. Ultimately kids doing chores is good for me AND them!
One of the purposes of chores is to contribute to the family
It’s important for kids to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. It feels good to be able to help others! (This also means if we pay kids for chores then we rob them of their contribution. Paying kids for chores creates an economic transaction, rather than an opportunity for them to help and to give.)
Chores might have protective factors
Doing chores allows kids to know that they are valuable, useful, and that they matter. KJ says chores possibly create protective factors that could be especially helpful for adolescents, who might not think that they matter, are important, or are valuable.
Through our conversation and her book, KJ shares humorous stories about real life parenting and really interesting research about modern family life.
She covers a lot of ground in How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute, including homework, mornings, and doing less.
If you’re looking for a great read about parenting–that won’t make you feel like you’re doing it all wrong–be sure to check out her book!
P.S. And if you’re wondering about us… we don’t pay our kids to do chores either!